TALLINN – Estonia's Minister of Health and Labor Peep Peterson, elected as the new chairman of the supervisory board of the Health Insurance Fund on Tuesday, said that the first topic to be discussed by the supervisory board with him as chairman is a proposal to the government for the rate of the unemployment insurance premium to be raised.
"Fortunately, the economy is not in the worst shape at the moment, and it is wiser to build up reserves instead of raising the rate sharply when a crisis hits," Peterson said.
Peterson pointed out that economic indicators and the labor market situation have been changing very rapidly in recent years.
"The economic policy of the state must be counter-cyclical. In good times, more reserves need to be accumulated so that employees and employers can be helped in difficult times. The coronavirus crisis clearly demonstrated the importance of having reserves. There must be confidence that the state can help people in more difficult times," the former leader of the trade union confederation EAKL said.
"Expenditures of the Unemployment Insurance Fund are directly linked to the wages of Estonian employees, so the reserve must grow in line with wage growth to maintain the current buffers. The services and expenditures of the Unemployment Insurance Fund definitely need to be reviewed as well, and a model agreed with the Ministry of Finance against which we will test our reserves," Peterson explained.
The highest governing body of the Unemployment Insurance Fund is a six-strong supervisory board. According to the Unemployment Insurance Act, two members of the supervisory board are appointed by the government, EAKL and the white-collar union body TALO appoint one member each, while the Estonian Employers Confederation also appoints two members.
The post of chairman of the supervisory board is filled by rotation, for terms of one year.